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I'm thinking about buying a ti. Ask all your questions about the possible purchase of a ti. Keep in mind, we are biased.

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Old 03-25-2012, 03:57 AM   #1
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Default Potential purchase - how much $$ to fix these items?

I'm shopping for cars. I looked at and drove a low mileage Ti today. It had its plusses and minuses. Low mileage (+) and lots of exterior cosmetic damage (-). The car is a 1998 with 93,000 miles, base model, 5 speed.

There are a few things about the car that I'm wondering the cost for repair. I figure you guys all have seen and done this stuff and know the answers, so here is my list of broken things. How much (about) to fix them? I'm fairly handy and can do some car work myself...

1. Odometer illumination - doesn't illuminate. If you look just right in the light you can see it so it works, it just isn't lit. How much $$$ or time to fix?

2. Headliner is falling. This is a car without a sunroof. The headliner is annoyingly hanging on the head of the front passengers. Ideas about how much to fix?

3. Airbag light. The light is on.

4. Driver side window regulator. I know this is common. Easy fix or $$$ fix or...?

The car has been the car that the kids used and it shows. The daughter moved away and the car sat. Dad decided to sell the car after a year, started driving it, it overheated, and he ended up having the head rebuilt and the head gasket replaced. Saw receipt for $1500, warranty for 1 year from now. I've read things about "did it ever overheat" - given that it did, and that the result was a head gasket, is there anything else I should be concerned about concerning this?

The car seemed faster than I would have expected and drove real nice.

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Old 03-25-2012, 05:02 AM   #2
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1. Easy fix, only two screws and some elbow grease. It might take you an hour total to replace the burnt out bulbs. The bulbs can be bought online at pelicanparts or at your dealer. They aren't expensive.

2. I paid an auto upholstery shop $200 to redo my headliner. Some people say you can do it yourself, but I'm lazy.

3. This can be many things, but usually it's the connectors under the seat going to the seatbelt sensor/pretensioner. They get kicked when people ride in back, or they get contaminated with spilled coffee, etc. I fixed mine by pulling out the seats (4 bolts each, takes 10 minutes), then cleaning all the contacts thoroughly. Then I got on Amazon and bought the cheapest BMW SRS reset tool I could find ($40) and then I reset the code(s) to get the light to go out.

4. The power windows use a mechanism with plastic sliders (2 per window) inside aluminum channels along the bottom edge of the glass. The aluminum channels are greased from the factory, but road grime and age cause the grease to dry out and get hard. The hardened grease then causes the sliders to stick and then they break. Take the door panel off (15 minute job), take the plastic sliders out and then take the window out. Clean the aluminum channels thoroughly, grease them, then reinstall with new plastic sliders (cheap part). You'll be good for many more years. If one window is bad, both probably are as they are the same age.

If you take the door panel off, make sure to get some of the door panel clips beforehand. If they are original, they will be brittle and they will break. Also the plastic brackets that the clips mount to tend to come unglued from the actual door panel. Get some plastic weld two part epoxy to remount them to the panel before you put it all back together. It sounds worse than it is. With the door panel off, you also have easy access to remove the door handles and replace the rubber gasket that goes around them (it's usually rotted out).

These are all very common problems for the 318ti and you'll find many guides and much advice and help here if you need it.

Things that I would also check: jack the car up and get under there with a flashlight and check the motor mounts, check for oil leaks (front seal, valve cover, etc), check for hidden collision damage and rust.
Daily Driver: 1997 318ti
Track Toy: 1989 325is - SpecE30 Prepped

Last edited by gte024h; 03-25-2012 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:56 PM   #3
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Nothing left to add.
All typical problems for a ti.
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1996 BMW 328ti 2003 MINI Cooper S 2016 M235i
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:25 PM   #4
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Headliner and window regulator issues are something that I think every single of us have dealt with at some point. Window issue might be as easy as a few broken clips, or the entire regulator might be bad (they have a couple of weak points in the metal that can fail).

If you're close by, I have an airbag reset tool. I also have a spare gauge cluster, if you're interested [/shameless plug]
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:30 PM   #5
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like these guys said they're all very common problems, but as for the headliner when mine began to sag, a friend and i fooled around with it for about 2 hours and just used some fancy glue to keep it from sagging. not the prettiest solution but it was easy, cheap and in my opinion not too much worse than what it would be if done professionally.
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